3 Wrong Roles Pastors Cast for Their Church Members

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Between school plays, little league teams, and numerous other ways, we have all been given roles that we thought were below us. We wanted the leading role, but got curtain duty. We wanted to pitch, but got stuck in right field. What was that role for you? (Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself.) Like [...]

10 Tips for Your Next Hospital Visit

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Pastors should be prepared to minister when they step foot in a hospital room. With someone under your care in frail condition, this is no time to wing it. Visiting someone is not just about what you do once you are in the room, it is about being prepared before you arrive. You might feel [...]

How to Do Accountability in Your Small Group, Even If There Are Visitors

A commenter raised a good question in my previous post on doing both edification and evangelism in your small group. It was one of those comments that bloggers really appreciate. He engaged with a point I was actually trying to make, and he presented his counter point with sincerity. As I typed out my answer in [...]

How to Always Be Ready to Care for Your Congregation

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Since pastors know ministry is full of surprises, there’s no excuse for being caught off guard when a need arises. Just like superheroes wear their costume under their normal clothes, we always need to be ready to serve our people (not that we are superheroes). Some pastors feel interrupted by congregational needs. “I didn’t get [...]

5 Lessons on Planning Funerals You Can’t Learn in Seminary

For the uninitiated, planning a funeral brings much anxiety. You deeply desire to lead and shepherd the family, but you may not know what to do or the manner in which to conduct yourself. These are the kinds of things you learn through experience. Here is what I learned in my experience walking with a [...]

3 Simple Steps to an Encouraging Hospital Visit

So what should actually do when you visit someone in the hospital? What actions will encourage and comfort the person you are visiting? Here are three steps. They each start with “P” to help you remember. 1. Presence. Just being there is a tremendous encouragement. Years later, the person will not remember the conversation you [...]

My Philosophy of Ministry in 4 Words, Drawn on a Napkin

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If you want to be a complete pastor, you gotta do all three.

How to Hack Your Introversion and Warmly Visit Someone in the Hospital (Even If You’ve Never Met)

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I can still remember my first hospital visit. I was a new pastor at a big church. No one knew me and I didn’t know anyone. Fears swarmed my mind. What do I say that will bring comfort to this person? What Scripture do I read? How do I even introduce myself? All these questions [...]

Why Seth Godin Might Be More Pastoral Than You

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There are two kinds of pastors in the world: those who are good at following up, and those who aren’t. Which one are you? Before you claim to be at the “good” level, let me set the standard. The time I emailed Seth Godin Before I launched this blog, I read a lot of Seth [...]

Strengthen Your Pastoral Counseling: 7 Book Recommendations

David Powlison, in his article “The Pastor as Counselor,” recommends these seven books for pastors who want to strengthen their counseling ministry: Pastoral Care by Gregory the Great The Reformed Pastor and (for the overly ambitious) Christian Directory ( 5 vols.) by Richard Baxter Pastoral Counsel by Thomas Oden Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer Powlison also recommends reading fiction because, [...]

When Interruptions Help You Become a More Complete Pastor

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A common frustration in ministry is when demands on our time and energy surprise us. The result is that we can’t focus on what we planned to work on because what came in unplanned is urgent. What I’ve discovered about these surprises is that these interruptions are often not interruptions in the truest sense. A [...]

The Most Important Productivity Tool for Pastors Is…

…your knees. “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16). A lot of us are at the beginning of a very busy week. I’m the kind of guy who gets to work, and then half an hour later remembers that I haven’t prayed about my work yet. Bring [...]

Can Shorter Prayers Be Better?

When it comes to prayer, according to Martin Luther, the shorter, the better. In Taking Hold of God: Reformed and Puritan Perspectives on Prayer, Brian G. Najapfour quotes Luther: “Our prayer must have few words, but be great and profound in content and meaning. The fewer the words, the better the prayer; the more words, the poorer the prayer. Few words [...]

7 Prayer Lists You Already Have

The problem with prayer lists is that we feel productive after making one, even if don’t get around to actually praying. That’s like drafting a fantasy football team and never setting your roster the whole season (don’t you hate that guy?). Only this is worse, since the people in your church are real. So time is [...]